the heads of some of the world's biggest tech companies have appeared before washington lawmakers to defend their firms against claims they abuse their power to quash competitors, and that their policies lead to political bias. the tech giants argue their companies have spurred innovation. there's pressure from both ends of the political spectrum for tougher regulation. in an interview with bbc news, dr anthony fauci, who leads american efforts to contain the coronavirus, has warned against politicising the pandemic. he said he has been frustrated by people not sticking to the guidelines, particularly on masks. the world health organization has urged young europeans there's concern their behaviour may be behind the latest spikes in virus infections. the head of the who in europe says more must be done to make sure they understand the consequences of risky behaviour.
now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i am stephen sackur. in ireland, all the talk earlier this year was ofa the talk earlier this year was of a political earthquake, a radical nationalist party sinn fein won the most votes in the general election and promised to his smash the status quo. well, so much for that, in fa ct, well, so much for that, in fact, islands two oldest parties formed a coalition and they are guiding their country through a pandemic and brexit. my through a pandemic and brexit. my guest today is mary lou mcdonald, the leader of sinn fein. has her party missed their moments? mary lou
mcdonald, in dublin, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. after the february election when you and your party did remarkably well, your party did remarkably well, you won the most first preference votes in ireland the general elections, you talked about a revolution at the ballot box. five months on, what has happened to the revolution? the five months on we are into uncharted and unprecedented times, no more than yourselves with a global pandemic with a public health emergency on our island and has caused considerable disruption to people ‘s daily lives but also to political life but i'm happy to report that all about disruption, notwithstanding the appetite for political change, remains very strong appetite for political change, remains very strong across ireland, remains very strong across ireland, north and south and i hold them with a view that we are living through changing and
changed times and times i believe significant movements in ireland, progressive movements is possible and will happen and i'm including of course, the constitutional question of a united ireland. and i do not doubt you want all of that to happen but i'm looking at your words back in february after the real election result came out and you are talking about an error of new politics and better government and he said sinn fein will be at the core of that and you may well be the next taoiseach, the irish prime minister. you overpromise, didn't you, and under delivered? no, i reflected the fa cts delivered? no, i reflected the facts as they were then and this scenario has not, frankly, changed, and i still believe the appetite and mandate for change and for changed government forced impact pain in government exists and of course you will know because you follow these matters —— of
sinn fein in government. the political government set about to keep changed out and sinn fein out and arcs fortunately they succeeded on this occasion — and unfortunately they succeeded on this occasion but they were not do that on every occasion and to deliver change that we were mandated on on february selection remains absolutely strong. i lead an incredibly strong, bright, energetic young team in the parliament in dublin and the scene is absolutely set for big political change and i believe that includes sinn fein in government in ireland, north and south and it will remain a referendum on unity and constitutional changes. let's talk about the missteps along the way and for one, many are wondering why you did not field more candidates because there are many experts he said given the swing to sinn fein in the election, if you put more
candidates out in this multi—party complex constituency system that you have, you may well have been able to form a government. that was a big mistake? it was. not pretending any differently. the context of it was quite a difficult set of elections the previous year in the european and locals so i suppose we were endeavouring to cut our cloth what we thought would be a measure but we should have, you are right, i should have seen to it that we ran more candidates and all i can say to you is i will not make that mistake again. well, 0k, you is i will not make that mistake again. well, ok, that is pretty frank! talking about a deeper issue, after the election you had to figure out how to form a government only had to consider whether you would work the two old established parties, finer gail and fianna fail. the truth is
both of those old parties regard you still, sinn fein, is still a deeply toxic political organisation and you did virtually nothing to reach out to them. let me take this question with an answer in two parts. despite proper binder to the contrary, finer gail and fianna fail are not regarded as toxic and the regard that increasingly we are a deeply attractive political option for attractive political option for a growing section of irish society. they wish to keep us out of government, not because they believe we are not fit for government but rather because they know full well that we are more than 50 government, they know that we are ready and we have the policy platform —— fit for government. we have the people and talent in the team and increasingly we have the strength and mandate. mary lou
mcdonald, have to put you the words of the current prime minister, mike coutu, michael martin, he said this at the time of the government formation, he said a fundamental issue that we in fianna fail have with sinn fein is that they do not operate to the same democratic standards held to every other democratic party in irish politics. well, anyone familiar with fianna fail, the party that michael martin leads, will appreciate the irony of that statement. fianna fail is a political organisation that has been deeply embroiled in controversy and profound corruption, the type for which has been picked up type for which has been picked up by type for which has been picked up by the irish republic and we are not likely to forget all of those episodes —— the tab for which. let me state the position again. the fact is that sinn fein has grown, in stature, numbers, our mandate has grown across the island as
it did a century ago in a previously historic times and thatis previously historic times and that is the thing in all truth. that our nerves the taoiseach, and that is politics and be that as it may, it will do not deflect or deter me or my collea g u es deflect or deter me or my colleagues from the very substantial political work that we have to do. right, but haven't you in many ways made it easy for michael martin and other irish representatives of the old guard, the establishment, because even now, you fail consistently to come clean about sinn fein's relationship with the ira. that is the fundamental problem and it remains so today. know, in fa ct, it remains so today. know, in fact, i think the nature and origins of the conflict which of course are contested as to what happened and why it happened, much less he was right or who was wrong and in
the conflict of ireland is very well chronicled. i think there is no secrecy around the fact that sinn fein is an irish republican public tea and we are report a united island —— party and we are for a united ireland and none of that is shrouded in mystery. i would tell you what is clear also is that for more than 20 years now we have carved out a vibrant and enduring political pathway for everybody, people from all persuasions and backgrounds, to participate in politics. and to ensure that the political dispute, the constitutional dispute, the constitutional dispute, is mediated peacefully and democratically and can i say along with others, as you know, sinn fein and successive sinn fein leaders have now been involved in fostering and nurturing that very valuable
piece deal. as you know, ireland has been following the fallout of the funeral of a very senior ira leader, bobby storie, who was the head of intelligence for the ira. in the 1990s, and extraordinarily important figure in the irish republican army. you went to his funeral. how carefully did you consider before you decided to go to the funeral which, clearly, we saw what happened, it clearly broke all the regulations and guidelines in northern ireland about covid—i9 and how people should gather, or not gather. you are right to record the fact that bobby storie was a very significant figure in irish political life andi figure in irish political life and i think will endure as a name in irish political history and he was a person much beloved, not only in his native belfast but across the island and not surprisingly there was and not surprisingly there was a very big sendoff, a huge funeralfor him. beloved by
people like you, mary mcdonald but not the unionist community by northern ireland and you know that more than i do. yes, thatis know that more than i do. yes, that is true but you find in any part of the world, much less a pa rt any part of the world, much less a part of the world where we have deep and entrenched political conflict, you'll have public figures who are loved by one section a not so by the other. and that is an essentially irish thing. leaving aside what you think of bobby storie and others think about bobby storie in northern ireland, do you think you are above the law because quite blata ntly, above the law because quite blatantly, many, many dozens of people turned up at that funeral in close proximity, broke all the rules, arlene foster, the head of the devolved administration in northern ireland said it was com pletely u na cce pta ble northern ireland said it was completely unacceptable and her deputy, the sinn fein leader in northern ireland, michele o'neil, northern ireland, michele 0'neil, they said they should not have been there and it was entirely wrong that you and she
flouted the rules. i do not believe i am above the law. far from it and as to the virus itself, i actually have been sick myself with a virus. i was really quite ill so i better than anybody understand the value and necessity for public health restrictions and for respecting them and for what it's worth, as you asked, on the down question, the cortez was limited to 30, per regulations and i was asked to read at the chapel at the requiem mass and we were masked as socially distance and the difficulty arose was because bobby was a political figure, a huge number came out onto the streets and that was to be anticipated. in fact, the organisers of the funeral at the family's request, live streamed the event and it was watched by a 250,000 people. so the numbers were big but they we re the numbers were big but they were potentially much bigger andi were potentially much bigger and i happen to think that the
organisers of the funeral working with the family did their best to maintain the public health standards but i will accept absolutely that it is very difficult when people come out onto the pavement, onto the streets to pay tribute to someone and we seen in other insta nces, to someone and we seen in other instances, that becomes extremely challenging, not least in terms of social distancing. let us to think about what you did and the impact of it. one unionist commentated and said it was in effect a state funeral for gerry adams's loyal right—hand man at the top of the ira, a state funeral organised within a state within a state. you are the leader of sinn fein. you chose to go. you wanted to be the leader of the republic of ireland and he wanted to be taoiseach. if you had managed to become taoiseach, would you still have gone to the funeral? yes, i would. still have gone to the funeral? yes, iwould. bobby, apart from anything else, was a person i
counted as a friend. he was a person i respected deeply and held in very high esteem and affection, why would i not have gone? got message. . .. as for the message about it being a state, that was rubbish. it was a funeral of a work very well known person, and a husband, father and grandfather. and there was a grieving family in there was a grieving family in the midst of this funeral. bobby happened to be extremely, exceptionally popular and had some people came out, not to assume. phone people by the way that the people of west belfast ——not that the people of west belfast — — notjust sinn fein people, to cut him on and they loved him. that's it. i'm just wondering what many people in ireland would make of a leader wa nts to ireland would make of a leader wants to leave the country also thinks it's entirely acceptable to go to the funeral and lord andi to go to the funeral and lord and i are a man who many see as having the blood of dozens of
people on his hands —— laud. the entire logic of the irish p —— makepeace process is to create inclusive politics, and that means everybody being involved in a political route, and that includes republican, loyalists and unionists. and state actors by the way. the fa ct state actors by the way. the fact that somebody like bobby was involved in politics and in political programme, i would suggest is the measure of the success of our peace process and nothing else. i asked you if you are coming clean with your relationship with the ira in sinn fein right now. you said you were. what do you make of the fact the irish police chief appears to believe that actually the military command of the ira is still calling the shots over people like you, the
political leadership of sinn fein? that is wrong and i can assure you that anybody who knows me or has had any dealings with me will absolutely appreciate that i am not somebody who allows others call the shots for me or overwhelm myjudgement or my actions. the report you are referring to actually said the following. intelligence reported from former ira person unnamed, that they believed that that was the case. so it is... we have an expression in irish in ourown is... we have an expression in irish in our own little janet goes" irish in our own little janet goes.. — irish in our own little janet goes... —— in our own language, a woman told me that a woman told her, and that is the quality of that particular allegation. it is false, it is wrong and the guard the commission that stands over the report in which that content features and i am not surprised at that, i mean, he was in the ps and!
at that, i mean, he was in the ps and i at the time and i respect he will defend that position. bear in line —— mind iam the position. bear in line —— mind i am the leader of sinn fein andi i am the leader of sinn fein and i speak for myself and i account for my actions and i am account for my actions and i am a clearheaded single minded individual and nobody pulls my strings, i can assure you. but the point is how much authority have you got? you said one of your own key politicians in the north of ireland, connor murphy, was going to retract words that he issued years ago about the murder of a 21—year—old in northern ireland and he had said that 21—year—old had been involved in criminal activity and smuggling. he went on to deny he ever set but the tapes show he ever set but the tapes show he did said. you come in the midst of a controversy about this, said you would force connor murphy to retract his words. he hasn't retracted his words. he hasn't retracted his words. it suggests to me that people like him don't actually ta ke people like him don't actually take your authority that seriously. well, i think you are stretching things by quite are stretching things by quite a level there. are stretching things by quite
a levelthere. why? are stretching things by quite a level there. why? in are stretching things by quite a levelthere. why? in that case, connor withdrew the remarks that he had made in respect of that unfortunate young man who lost his life so brutally... he did not retract in the way he said he would.“ iremind in the way he said he would.“ i remind you and if you research the matter, you will know this. the former prime minister and taoiseach in dublin had similarly made remarks similar to what connor had said, and he also withdrew them. that is where that matter stands and i am very hopeful that the quinn family will meet with connor at some stage, because i do believe that we are hurt has been caused, that those matters need to be made to the best of our ability and it proved challenging at times, but nonetheless it is an important matter. some would say that your words are more emollient and are better at bridge building than other seniorfigures in your bridge building than other senior figures in your party, which again, bring back the
question of your authority. just one more question on that. francie molloy, sinn fein mp, another senior voice in the party. he tweeted this month, we we re party. he tweeted this month, we were sold a pop with the good friday agreement. no commitment there from either dublin or ireland to deliver for nationalists or republicans. it was alljust a laugh. it's francie molloy‘s co nte m pt laugh. it's francie molloy‘s contempt for the good friday agreement shared by you? no, and in fairness to francie, i think he was articulating a frustration that i have heard from a number of people, from nationalists, north and south, and it is this that the political establishment, whether in london or dublin, contend that now was not the time to talk about unity, now was not the time to set out as they should the criteria for they should the criteria for the calling of the border, and i will not mislead you that has caused a level of frustration
amongst people. but it brings us amongst people. but it brings us back to the base ‘s point, you are not in powerful meanwhile martin is currently in power, sharing power with leo varadkar. they both made it plain that they think your view of when a border poll might happen is completely unrealistic and deeply divisive, and the truth is if you look at polls today, sinn fein ‘s along with the most popular party in the republic of ireland, and the government is deemed to be doing well on the most important pressing issue of all, which is handling covid—i9. your moment appears to have passed. see, the wonderful thing about democracy clinical life is that we set out our store political leaders rival, political will make all sorts of assertions and will have their debates, and then the people decide. and that is at the core of the journey to irish reunification. the people will ultimately call this one. it is entirely legitimate and it is entirely in accordance
with and in keeping with the good friday agreement to say out loud we want a united ireland, we want an end to the partition of our island, which has been so injurious to our social, political and economic fortunes, and we want to talk about that, and, yes, we want a referendum. you know better than i that there is more to politics than just talking about the border poll, and irish people like all others have had struggle with covid—i9. the fact that if you look at the impact on island, the central bank has just warned that the crisis is going to blow a 20 billion euros plus hole in the state public finances, growth is gone, the economy might shrink by 8.3%, half a millionjobs may be lost. i'll implement economic crisis is as deep as most countries, yet sinn fein is still wedded to a massive, massive spending plan on healthcare, on 100,000 new homes. isn't it time for sinn fein to wake up and smell the coffee and realise that the programme took to the irish people is no longer relevant
post coving? we are wide-awake and it is a long time since we smell the coffee and, in fact, the covid emergency highlights the covid emergency highlights the absolute imperative and urgency to deliver those very things that we discussed in the course of the election campaign. whose money? let me address it. we have a housing crisis on the island, we have a whole generation locked out of home we have people can't make their to have no prospect of a secure roof over their head with people living in awful overcrowded conditions, and one of the lessons of this public health emergency is that not alone is a secure roof over your head, human rights and a democratic right, it is also a public health imperative, because your home now is your shelter, it is the place where you self isolate. it is all about stimulus, it is about repairing economies through growth. ireland is not unique
in that, farfrom it. sinn fein is certainly not unique, although we were very much ahead of the pack in recommending and advancing that type of economic recovery long before others. but the proposition surely is at a time of covid—19 crisis with the reality of brexit in the end of the transition looming at the end of this year, the irish people appear to believe and wa nt people appear to believe and want right now is the stability of this grand coalition they have got rather than the radicalism and the uncertainty that might come with sinn fein. that is a political landscape. you are going to have to adapt. well, i mean, you are making an assertion there that certainly i would contest. i would suggest to you that the government that we got was certainly not the government that many, many people envisaged or voted for. but the truth is also that irish people expect that the basics are gotten right, they expect they
can have decent public services to rely on, they accept that they have stable, secure work and a decent level of income. not to live an extravagant lifestyle, but to live a decent and a good life, and i believe that all of those things are deliverable and i would suggest you that if they are not deliverable, if there are people in political life that say those things are a bridge too far, those are ambitions that are too high for working people, then i suggest that they shouldn't be in political life, and if you are not in government, to deliver those things, then i think you have no business in government. final very quick point. do you think your window of opportunity, your moment has slipped through your fingers? no, ithink slipped through your fingers? no, i think we are just beginning, and! no, i think we are just beginning, and i think there are those who would say to you for purely self interest at the moment of change has gone in ireland, that it is over, but i would say my response watch this space because it is only just beginning. mary lou
mcdonald in dublin, thank you very much forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. so far this month we have seen temperatures around or below the seasonal average. quite a lot of cloud and rain at times too. but by the end of this month, so that's for friday, a hot spell is likely for much of the uk and we could see in fact the hottest day of the year so far on friday. we could see temperatures reached 3a celsius. pressure chart shows for thursday we have got low pressure to the north and the west.
that's going to bring more cloud and outbreaks of rain for northern ireland, northern england, perhaps north wales. that rain will be pushing into scotland as we move through the day. some of the rain will be quite heavy as well as it exits northern ireland. but brightening up for northern ireland, southern scotland, for england and wales, though, a fine dry day from the word go with sunshine turning increasingly warm and humid with the mid—to—upper 20 celsius, and a bit cooler further through the north. through thursday night, that rain will continue to move northwards across scotland, eventually becoming confined to the north, but for much of the country, it will be a warmer and a clear night with those temperatures generally between 11 and 15 or 16 degrees across the south. that takes us then into friday. we really tap in to some very hot air across northern spain and france on this southerly breeze. it will push that warmth northwards right across the country, in fact, but low pressure out towards the west means these weather fronts will encroach into western areas, destabilising the atmosphere so we could see showers or thunderstorms through the day.
many of us starting off dry, sunny and warm, it will be hot day for much of the uk. but this band of cloud with rain on it, maybe some embedded thunderstorms, northern ireland, then western parts of scotland and west of england and wales later in the day. those temperatures, widely the mid—to—upper 20s celsius. and for east wales, midlands, south—east england, we could see 31 to 3a degrees in the south—east. i can imagine that could be the hottest day of the year so far. a chance of some showers and thunderstorms developing in response to that heat through friday evening and friday night. but that weather front continues to work its way in from the west, introducing cooler air just in time for the weekend. so it will be noticeably different, the feel of the weather this weekend. it will be cool and fresher, temperatures fall lower even into sunday and we'll see a mixture of sunshine and showers too in those brisk west—south—west winds. most of the showers in the north and the west.
this is bbc news. i'm david eades with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world: the titans of us tech under the microscope — facebook, amazon, google and apple challenged in congress over claims they're stifling competition. we face a lot of competitors and every part of what we do. —— in every part of what we do. russia joins the coronavirus vaccine race — scientists there say they will have one ready for approval in august. is there anyone out there? nasa's new perseverance rover heads to mars to search for evidence of life. song. # i want to ride my bicycle # i want to ride my bike...#